AFL chief denies lying to bombers after secret tape leaks

AN expletive-laden tape recording of a private Essendon management meeting over the 2012 supplements program reveals allegations the AFL recanted over punishments to players and administrators for doping.

The recording, released by the Herald Sun, purportedly involves club chairman Paul Little, coach James Hird, assistant coach Mark Thompson and football boss Danny Corcoran - none of whom are now at the Bombers - during a meeting on August 8 at the club's headquarters.

In the tape, Little accuses AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan, then deputy chief, of betraying his word that players would not be pursued for lengthy bans over their involvement in the club's ill-fated 2012 supplements program. The meeting was reportedly held hours after AFL legal representatives told the club charges would be laid over doping.

"Every single issue that I agreed on with Gil McLachlan, and I met with him the other night, has pretty much been reversed now in this note here," Little said in the recording.

"We spoke about getting the players cleared 'unconditionally' - was the word I used. I rang him last night and I said, 'you know, you've really upset me here because you've gone back on your word, Gil'.

"'You told me one thing and now you're doing something else'. "He then said to me, 'there is a 99 per cent chance that the players won't be charged.' And I said, 'well, I'd like to believe you but are you happy for me to use that language in front of the players?' And he said, 'oh no, you can't do that'.

"And I said, 'well f***, you're telling me one thing and over here I can't tell anything to the players'."

An exasperated Hird adds: "They're a pack of f***ing lying ­p****s ... and they have done from the start."


Days later, following the release of an interim Australia Sports Anti-Doping Authority report, the AFL charged Hird, Thompson, club doctor Bruce Reid, Corcoran and the club itself with bringing the game into disrepute.

The AFL handed down a series of penalties, including kicking Essendon out of the 2013 finals, a $2 million fine and stripping of draft picks.

Hird was suspended for 12 months, while Corcoran and Thompson were also punished.

In 2015, the Court of Arbitration for Sports ruled the 34 past and present Bombers players be banned for the 2016 season.

Read more at the Herald Sun